Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 4th 2013 Contents RADHICA SOOKRAJ
Two day before Jack Warner kicks
off his electoral campaign, the UNC
has announced that he could face the
party s screening committee.
However, there is no guarantee he
would get the nod.
The seat is yet to be declared vacant,
and UNC s acting chairman Khadija
Ameen said once this is done officially
by Speaker Wade Mark next Friday,
the party would begin the procedures
to select a candidate.
Speaking to reporters after the
UNC s national executive meeting
(known as Natex) at Rienzi Complex
on Thursday night, Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar said a decision
was taken at the meeting for Ameen
to act as interim chairman. She then
directed all questions to Ameen.
Asked whether Warner would be
screened and selected to contest the
seat, Ameen said: "As you know, Mr
Warner resigned formally There is a
procedure when there is an election,
there will be nomination, screening
and so on...we will follow the proce-
dure so the party will deal with that."
Asked whether calls were made for
any disciplinary proceedings against
Warner over the Concacaf findings,
Ameen said that was never discussed.
As to whether Warner would be
chosen automatically as the Chaguanas
West candidate, Ameen said: "There
is a procedure, whenever there is an
election---local election, general elec-
tion---the party has a procedure to fol-
low in terms of candidates. Now that
it is a party matter, the party will
decide and the procedure will be fol-
Asked to explain the procedure,
Ameen responded: "It is similar in all
political parties in terms of screening,
but as I indicated, it is for the party
to decide at this time."
She could not give the date for nom-
ination and screening.
Asked why, Ameen said: "The truth
is, Mr Warner s seat is not yet vacant.
The Parliament will be convened next
Friday and it is expected the Speaker
will make an announcement next Fri-
day and it is then and only then, the
Chaguanas West seat will become
"We have to wait until it is declared
vacant and then nominations will open
at some point and members will be
invited to bring in their nominations
so that is the normal procedure is fol-
lowed," she said.
"As of now, the seat has not been
declared vacant so nominations have
not yet been opened."
Ameen said she was not concerned
about a by-election being held on the
heels of local government elections.
She said the people would vote on
the basis of the Government s per-
formance in the local government elec-
Warner may face UNC
Chaguanas West seat not a done deal...
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, in her
role as political leader of the UNC, greets acting
chairman of the party, Khadijah Ameen, on her
arrival at Rienzi Complex, Couva, on Thursday
afternoon for the party's executive meeting.
Local Government Minister and Fyzabad MP
Chandradesh Sharma stands at left in the long
line of party officials who greeted Persad-
Bissessar. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
Housing Minister Dr Roodal
Moonilal said yesterday 500 houses
would be distributed at the end of
In addition to the 500 Housing
Development Corporation homes, an
additional 500 lots of land would be
distributed to applicants to the cor-
poration s Land for the Landless pro-
gramme, he said.
At a ceremony to hand over a home
to the parents of the country s first
sextuplets yesterday, Moonilal
announced there would be a public
drawing for lots.
He said while houses would be dis-
tributed in areas across the country,
land distribution will only take place
in Couva, San Fernando and Chagua-
nas. The minister said since the Land
for the Landless programme was
launched in January, the corporation
had received over 40,000 applica-
The programme provides applicants
with lots of land with foundations
Moonilal also announced that the
Government was in discussion with
the Tobago House of Assembly (THA)
to embark on a housing development
programme for the island.
"We are having discussions on
developing houses in Tobago and are
discussing two main issues," he said.
He said these issues were the
options available for financing the
housing programme and a construction
programme to assist Tobago in the
construction on housing estates.
"The THA and Government col-
laboration is very healthy," Moonilal
Moonilal: Govt to hand over
500 houses by month's end
The People s Partnership Gov-
ernment is entering the upcom-
ing local government elections
as a united body and will work
assiduously to capture control
of the Port-of-Spain, Point
Fortin and San Juan/Laventille
So said interim chairman of the
UNC Khadijah Ameen and the
party s deputy political leader Dr
Suruj Rambachan after Thursday
night s national executive at Rienzi
Rambachan said an arrange-
ment is being finalised with the
Congress of the People (COP)
over the selection of candidates.
Ameen said even though the
PNM has already started screen-
ing candidates, the People s Part-
nership would be ready for elec-
"We have a strong membership
which has been mobilised...We
had new executives installed in
Trinidad," Ameen said.
Rambachan said: "We are going
to go into the election as a part-
nership and the COP and the
UNC will in fact work out our
mutual interests and benefits in
terms of the division of the seats
and how we are going to contest.
"There is absolutely nothing
else that will happen except that
we will fight like we did in 2010
as a partnership," he said.
"We intend to retain all the
seats we have at this point in time.
Both as the UNC and the COP
have decided that we are actively
going after the Port-of-Spain City
Corporation, Point Fortin and San
Juan/Laventille Regional Corpo-
rations where we have represen-
Suruj: We'll fight
local govt polls
as a partnership
Rambachan also criticised Port-
of-Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing for
complaining that the Government
was withholding funds from the
"I want to say that has no truth
in it at all, it is baseless and I think
what is happening to the mayor
of Port-of-Spain is that he is
running scared," he said.
"He has not delivered to the
burgesses of Port-of-Spain and
suddenly he finds himself in a
predicament where people are
comparing his performance to the
performance of the other regional
"When a person finds himself in
that kind of position he looks for
a whipping horse except there is
no whipping horse for him this
time except because people are
basing their judgment about him
on performance and the reality is
that the majority of corporations
have performed very well this
year compared to him."
Rambachan said Lee Sing
received $192 million in terms of
his recurrent budget and also $20
million in terms of his
"Those funds are supplemented
by the work that other ministries
do in the city," he said.
"The Ministry of Works and
Infrastructure, as well as the
Ministry of the People, does a lot
of work with respect to the
vagrancy, so he feels that because
of his inefficiency, a lot of the
other ministries are doing the
work that he should be doing.
"The burgesses and commuters
of Port-of-Spain are beginning to
talk about that and they are
beginning to compare what they
have seen in other areas of
Trinidad where we have a
corporations and the quality of
work they are doing.
Interviewed yesterday, Lee
Sing criticised Rambachan, calling
Lee Sing said Rambachan was
responsible for the non-execution
of development work because he
failed to grant approvals for
access to expenditure from the
corporation's unspent balances.
Saying he had documents to
prove this, Lee Sing said only 50
per cent of developmental works
"Dr Rambachan must explain
to us why approval for our long
list of unspent balances has not
been forthcoming, despite
meeting all the requirements
made by the ministry," Lee Sing
"Further as it relates to the
development programme, we
were able to draw down 50 per
cent of the money, based on
approvals given by Rambachan."
Saying he did not operate an
account with the ministry, Lee
Sing said he could not make
withdrawals from the unspent
"I think Dr Rambachan is
making the same mistake as his
predecessor, because ultimately
the truth is always easy to define
on the basis of documents, and I
am disturbed by this," the mayor
"I had hope for Rambachan, but
it seems he has set out not only
to disgrace Mr (Jack) Warner, but
to disgrace himself as well and
therefore my prayers are always
He said he could not do all that
he wanted to do in the
corporation unless he had access
"I have to wait on the minister
to approve the expenditure and it
is only after he has done that, will
the Ministry of Finance give
approval for the release of the
money, Lee Sing said.
"When that is done, money is
then released to me so that I can
continue the work programme."
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, May 4, 3012
POS MAYOR RESPONDS
Lee Sing running scared---Rambachan
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